Arrest Made in Aggravated Murder of 14 Year Old Alianna Defreeze
Christopher Whitaker Arrested for Kidnapping and Murder
CLEVELAND – Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Chief of Police Calvin D. Williams, announce that 44 year old Christopher Whitaker was arrested for the Kidnapping and Aggravated Murder of 14 year old Alianna Defreeze.
Christopher Whitaker was identified as the suspect in this case through evidence discovered by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office Northeast Ohio Regional Forensic Laboratory. Whittaker does have prior criminal convictions. He was taken into custody today at 6800 Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights at approximately 7:15pm by members of the Cleveland Division of Police and the United States Marshals Service.
Alianna Defreeze was last seen on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at approximately 6:30 am boarding a Regional Transit Authority bus to go to school. Alianna’s mother contacted police after being notified by the school that her daughter was not in attendance that day at approximately 4:15 pm.
On Sunday, January 29, 2017, officers were conducting sweeps near East 93rd Street and Kinsman Road in an effort to locate the missing child. During a search of an abandoned home at 9412 Fuller Avenue, officers located the body of a deceased female. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office positively identified this victim as Alianna Defreeze.
Officers and agents conducted sweeps throughout the past several days that encompassed various neighborhoods on the city’s southeast side, specifically the East 93rd Street and Fuller Avenue area. Officers of the Cleveland Division of Police documented over 80 interviews along with multiple street encounters and knock and talks. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation augmented and supported this effort with additional canvasses and interviews.
At this time, the Cleveland Division of Police would like to thank the public for their tireless assistance in this case. Many tips and leads were phoned in and residents provided valuable information to officers and agents during the canvassing process. Also, many thanks to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI and Crimestoppers for offering the reward incentive in this case and to the United States Marshals Service for their assistance with the arrest and RTAPD and APA for the assistance in the case.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office worked very diligently and quickly to identify the victim in this case and ultimately provided the scientific information that law enforcement needed to identify the suspect and make an arrest. The results of the work done by those in the Cuyahoga County Northeast Ohio Regional Forensic Laboratory consistently prove invaluable to law enforcement.
In addition, the Cleveland Division of Police would like to recognize the effort brought forth by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The law enforcement partnership between the FBI and CDP is highly valued and the results of the cooperative investigations speak for themselves. The officers of the Cleveland Police Fourth District, the Detective Bureau and the Major Case Squad were instrumental in the solving of this case in partnership with the Homicide Unit.
This remains an extremely difficult time for the family, loved ones, friends and classmates of Alianna Defreeze. We ask that you continue to respect their privacy, and to keep them in your prayers. This investigation remains in the early stages. The Cleveland Division of Police continues to ask for the assistance of the public in this case. Please call homicide investigators at 216-623-5464 or Crimestoppers at 216-252-7463 (or text message: text TIP657 plus your message to Crimes 274637) with information. Tips may be provided anonymously.